|Index||2 reviews in total|
In this movie, Sherlock is 17, tall and emaciated with very bushy
eyebrows looking quite unEnglish.
It is acted in a hammy sort of way, as if it were a filmed stage play.
There are plenty of eccentric characters besides Sherlock. All are given time to develop into individuals, even the evil henchmen.
The plot is quite James Bondian. The melodramatic villains repeatedly capture Sherlock, then either give him an escape test, give him a present, put him to sleep, present some elaborate charade, or just let him go. They never just shoot him. I could never figure out why they bothered capturing him.
There are lots of surprises, but that is mainly because the villains are bonkers.
Helen Chase as Aunt Rachel does a brilliant performance, I can't quite figure out what she did, but I instantly loathed her, sort of like Maggie Smith, but horrible. Some of her attributes include:
putting people down, subtly
excessive concern with social status, fawning over those with higher status
complaining that others are not considerate of her
continual references to her superior Christian virtue
Eva Griffiths, plays Charity, her spoiled brat of a child, who reminded me of a Pekinese. She was her mother in training.
The picture is cloudy, as if filmed at low res, and the frame is square, not letterbox. It was filmed in 9 TV episodes. 3 DVDs worth. This drags the story out a bit much. For example, the denouement takes an entire episode. It was stolen from the Wizard of Oz.
The "fight" scenes are amateurish to the extreme. You might see better in a high school play.
However, despite all its faults, it is entertaining and leaves you smiling.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Given that Granada brought us this series, and that Granada also
created the amazing Jeremy Brett series just a few years later, one
might deduce that this would be an interesting, well- produced and
imaginative production about Holmes' younger years.
One's conclusion would be truly erroneous, a misapplication of the general instance to the specific.
Pray take my advice, good reader, and spare yourself the torment of this series. The writing is lame, the cardboard characters and acting worthy of a bad soap opera. There is no subtlety to character or action. The dumb character is all dumb, the pompous character all pompous, the annoying character annoying. In places, characters are unaware of Holmes & companions snooping about even though they're ineptly hidden, and talking not-so-quietly in the same, otherwise quiet room. Suspense clichés are common: the bad guy is about to enter Holmes' hiding place for no apparent reason, but is interrupted at the last moment by the other bad guy who has an errand for him.
The mystery itself is fairly Holmesian: implausible and complex, but reasonably consistent. It's one of the few things this series didn't botch completely.
We also see the development of much of the Holmes that we know: although he already wears a cape in the start of the series, the trademark hat and a magnifying glass join him part way through; Moriarty's name is kicked around, and there's an suggested origin of Holmes' drug habit.
The series is one extended mystery, as opposed to eight individual stories. So, unfortunately, if you manage to suffer through 2 or 3 episodes thinking it will pick up, you're just setting yourself up to suffer through the remainder on a quest for a sense of completion. In retrospect, I should have given up and burned the media. My only consolation is that, having borrowed a copy, I didn't have to pay anything for it, though it probably wasn't even worth the gas to drive over to get and return it.
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